Luxury. It’s the word frequently being used today to describe the environment skilled nursing facilities are providing for post- acute short-term rehabilitation stays. “We are making the experience resemble a hotel stay. Meeting the demands of a new generation of seniors’ means redefining the future of traditional nursing homes,” said Austin Hirsch, President of The Selfhelp Home.
Plush robes, in-room dining, private suites, wi-fi and spa like services are all part of the experience. When walking into the new Health and Rehabilitation Center at Selfhelp that opened in June 2015, calming colors and selected artwork are uplifting and encouraging. Lighting was selected for a more home-like sensibility inclusive of cushioned flooring for added safety.
“We wanted to create a space for seniors that doesn’t feel like their mothers nursing home- instead something that offers a strong sense of independence and dignity that can be lost after a decline in health said Dr. Martin Szanto, Medical Director for the Selfhelp Home. “Combining high quality care and experienced therapists, these new environments ensure hospitals prevail with low readmission rates.” Selfhelp Home maintains one of the lowest hospital readmission rates in Illinois.
The center is an expansion of short-term rehabilitation services at Selfhelp attracting active seniors that want to regain strength and return home to their active lifestyles. The architects worked closely with the nursing and therapy teams at Selfhelp. Storage and convenience were critical factors to consider, while a conscious effort was made to give as much space as possible to residents.
Large private suites, private bathrooms and wheelchair accessible showers are featured in each room. Larger suites were designed to with enough space for overnight guests – positively reinforcing retraining and care of the patient.
Large spacious therapy rooms include, simulated kitchen and bathroom, and a private room for speech therapy. There are also community rooms for dining, activities, and ample room for therapy so that residents don’t have to leave the floor for rehabilitation. A water therapy room for whirlpool treatments was given a very relaxing, spa-like look.
There are quiet spaces for residents to socialize and have private conversations with family members and guests.
Renovating the building was challenging to create a high-end look and feel, while making sure it was consistent with the rest of The Selfhelp Home.
Shallow floor-to-floor heights and thin flat plate floor construction required renovation of plumbing and HVAC systems. Upgrades were necessary and needed, though at times, a challenge to the redesign and construction to ensure aesthetically pleasing results. Working within an existing retirement community also posed challenges. Residents living in apartments on the floor directly beneath the project needed to be temporarily relocated within the building.
Orthopedic surgeons rely on the post-acute care as a key component to a successful recovery.
According to Alan Given, Manager of the Orthopedic Service Line, Joint University at Weiss Memorial hospital, updated therapy rooms, overnight accommodations for a spouse and barrier free showers are features that can positively impact a patient’s outcomes post-op in a sub-acute nursing facility.
Selfhelp works closely with neighboring hospitals such as Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Presence Healthcare, RIC and Rush.